I Know What You’re Thinking

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Do you ever make up stories in your mind? Self-made assumptions about how a conversation, situation, or experience will go? Maybe you’re like me and you have a tendency to do this when you’re faced with the unknown or put in an uncomfortable position that will lead to tension (yuck!) if not dealt with through confrontation (double yuck!).

For me, it’s about preparedness. I like to know how things will play out and I’m certain that by rehearsing an imagined discussion or visualizing a scene, I can foresee and therefore plan for every possible scenario. But, alas, my crystal ball is often if not always faulty and my expectations, skewed. No matter how well I think I know someone at present, my powers of prediction are limited by the past. Past insecurities, past experiences, past judgments. I think I know what someone will say because he/she has said it before. I think I know how they’ll react because they reacted the same way all those other times.

But in truth, I know diddly squat for sure. Every circumstance is riddled with random variables and all my supposed knowing leaves out one important element: The possibility of change. We are all works-in-progress, but becoming better versions of ourselves requires a certain amount of grace and forgiveness. From ourselves and from others. Because how will we ever grow and progress if we are continually thought of as “the one who always . . .” or “the one who never . . .”?

If you have ever felt the effects of someone treating you or approaching you as if you are still the ten-years-ago version of yourself, you know it isn’t fun. It doesn’t feel good to be judged by an older, shorter measuring stick, when you now tower over it. We don’t need someone else to point out our shortcomings. We are all fully aware of and constantly faced with those areas of our lives in which we constantly strive for improvement.

So why not give others the grace we, ourselves, so desperately need? Why not create a little open-minded space in our often closed-off minds? Why not turn our own stubborn perspective on its head and rather than looking for that which we know will remain unchanged in someone else, let’s look for the same tiny seed of growth that we hope they will see in us.

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